When designing a digital marketing strategy for your business, two of the most important goals are to increase traffic to your website and improve your brand’s presence on social media platforms.
In this article, we explain how search engine optimization (SEO) and social media impact each other and how they can work together to achieve your business goals. And to show the symbiotic relationship between these two seemingly different strategies, we provide a guide on how to apply SEO keyword research principles to Instagram hashtags.
SEO Content Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing
SEO marketing is the implementation of a set of techniques to boost a website’s visibility in search engines and increase site traffic. It involves writing high-quality targeted content, using relevant keywords, and optimizing the site’s coding, meta tags, and page titles. It also includes acquiring backlinks to your site from authority websites as part of link-building campaigns.
Social media marketing, on the other hand, is a strategy used to target specific audiences defined by demographics, psychographics, or purchasing behaviors. It involves sharing relevant content to create awareness about a brand, product, or service.
Social media sites can provide both advertisements and informational content about a brand. Each social media site has features that are unique to the platform, which should be taken into consideration when developing a marketing strategy.
With more than 4.66 billion people who use social media worldwide, it makes perfect sense for companies to expand their marketing campaigns to include social media sites to reach more potential customers.
How SEO and Social Media Work Together
Although SEO and social media marketing are two different beasts, they are complementary to each other. So, instead of treating them as competing entities operating with different goals, one strategy should be used in conjunction with the other. It’s an effective way to get your message out to a wider audience, increase engagement, and generate more traffic to your site.
The clear distinction is that an SEO strategy makes your website more searchable in search engines by people who are actively looking for specific information about products and services related to your business, while social media marketing builds an online relationship with customers and encourages engagement.
To better understand the synergistic relationship between SEO and social media marketing, here are ways the use of social media impacts SEO and vice versa.
Promoting your content on social media can drive traffic to your site.
Although Google said that social media has no direct impact on a website’s search ranking, the links shared across social media platforms generate social signals to Google that your content is useful to your target audience. This results in better ranking and increased traffic.
So, in a small but significant way, the likes, shares, comments that your social media posts receive, are vital signals that contribute indirectly to your site ranking.
Make sure to put social sharing buttons on your website to make your website content shareable to various social media sites.
Using social media increases brand awareness which leads to more brand search
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter play an important role in creating awareness for your brand. They also give your customers a place to engage with you and ask questions about your products and services. This increased curiosity can potentially lead to people searching for your brand on Google.
Check out the infographic below to compare and contrast different social media sites based on your needs!
Infographic created by Clover, a POS systems company
Business social media profiles appear in the search results.
If potential customers search for your business online, your social media profiles are generally among the first links that appear on search results. This is an opportunity for them to check out your profile and learn about your products and services. But apart from that, your social media posts can lead them to your website, especially if you include a call-to-action (CTA) to visit your site.
Conversely, having links to your different social media profiles on your website can direct traffic to your social channels. Either way, you benefit from having more people discover your brand.
Social media posts offer an opportunity to get backlinks to your website.
Backlinks to your site are one of the most important Google ranking factors. The links help Googlebots crawl your site and give it greater visibility and discoverability on the search results page. As you create more content and post on your social media, your followers can potentially share it with their network. This boosts your reach and increases the chance of your audience linking back to you if they find valuable content. The higher the authority of the referring page, the better.
Social media is a powerful tool for content distribution.
With social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, companies are able to reach massive audiences they never would have been able to before. By creating optimized content and distributing it to various social networks, you can benefit from a stronger online presence and an increased likelihood of being found by your target audience.
Implementing SEO and Social Media Strategies
To make sure that you get the desired results from using SEO and social media marketing, you must implement the following strategies.
1. Base your SEO strategy on data.
In today’s data-driven world, it is important to use the right data to drive your SEO strategy. Data can be leveraged in many ways, from setting a baseline for your SEO goals to seeing how you stack up against the competition. You can even use data to set your content marketing strategies with an eye towards SEO.
Collect data from your website traffic and look for trends and patterns. Google Analytics will help you track and monitor your website visitors so you can see what people are looking at on your pages, learn more about their demographics, understand how they got to your website, and what search terms they are using. Having user behaviour data can help you set SEO goals and create content that will resonate with your target audience.
2. Do keyword research.
Keyword research is the best way to find out what people are searching for in your industry or niche. And when they’re searching, they’re looking for a solution to their problems. Doing keyword research will help you create content that provides the information they need. The more information you provide, the more relevant you’ll be in search results.
You can use tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, Semrush, and Keywords Everywhere to find relevant main and long-tail keywords that you can use in your content creation.
3. Create quality content that provides value.
Content that resonates with users boosts engagement and repeat visits to your site. Optimize your articles, blog posts, and images by using the relevant keywords you’ve identified in your research. But the gauge of quality is when your content answers questions and helps solve problems. Also, there are content marketing services for SaaS and for other companies which will help you to improve your SEO content marketing and attract more customers.
4. Get backlinks from high-authority sites.
One of the most important Google ranking factors is the number and quality of external links that point back to your website. This indicates how relevant, credible, and trustworthy your site is in Google’s eyes.
If you have high-quality content that outperforms the competition, you won’t have much trouble getting links from authority sites. However, this is not always the case. So, you need to implement link-building strategies such as writing guest posts, reaching out to authority sites, or getting professional opinion from experts through sites like Help A Reporter Out.
Social Media Marketing
1. Optimize your social media accounts for searchability.
Social media follows the same SEO principles when it comes to making content searchable. This includes doing keyword research. You need to find and analyze words and phrases that people use to find information on Google or other search engines.
When you find the relevant keywords, you’ll be able to determine the demand for topics that your target audience search for. It brings your content in front of your potential customers.
In social media, hashtags are often used to track content and find places, events, and people who share similar interests. They work pretty much the same way as keywords as they help users identify posts relating to a specific topic. Hashtags enable users to group their posts into topics so they are easier to find. So, use relevant hashtags that will make it easier for users to find you.
2. Maintain a consistent brand image across all your social media accounts.
Using the same branding across your social media accounts is important for maintaining a sense of identity and personality. Your logo, color scheme, and slogan can all work together to create a recognizable brand that tells customers exactly what your company is all about. But more than that, it’s the way you communicate your message to your audience and how you provide service.
Inconsistency in the way you present your brand and message can come across as unprofessional and confusing to consumers who may not know which account they’re interacting with.
Include links to your website, business profile, and other social media accounts so that potential customers can get to know you better.
3. Make your social media posts shareable.
You can’t expect every social media post to go viral, so what you need to do is create engaging content so that people who see it will be compelled to share it with their social networks. This amplifies your content and brings it to a wider audience.
Mix up your content so that people can see that you’re not a one-trick pony. There should be a variety in your post. You can create images, videos, infographics, soundbites, quotes, reels, Q&A, and brand story, to name just a few.
4. Follow a posting schedule and post consistently.
Initially, you may not know the best time to post your content. As a rule of thumb, you must post when your audience is most engaged. There’s no one size-fits-all posting schedule, you have to use data to figure it out.
Fortunately, the leading social media platforms provide data on the best time to post and to engage. You can find the optimal time for posting and engagement in Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and Instagram Insights.
Try posting on different times of the day to find the peak times when there is a lot of engagement. You have to take into consideration the location of your target audience. Once you find the optimal time, create a posting schedule and stick to it.
Applying SEO Keyword Research Principles: Instagram Hashtag
Hashtags are used to label and categorize your posts to bring them to the relevant audience. Hashtags make it easier for individuals to find information and they play a key role in the formation of networks between people. There are many creative ways you can use hashtags in order to spice up your posts with humor or provide context for your posts.
Instagram hashtags function as a search trigger, similar to using keywords on search engines. The algorithm uses hashtags to categorize posts and suggests them to relevant users. As such, you can apply SEO keyword research principles for your Instagram marketing strategy.
1. Do Hashtag Research
Find trending hashtags on Instagram.
Instagram doesn’t display a list of trending hashtags, however, there’s a workaround to that. On the Instagram app, just do a search under the “Tags” and it will show you a list of popular hashtags, including their post counts. From there, you can immediately spot the trending hashtags that are relevant to your content.
Spy on your competitors’ hashtags.
This will give you an idea of what other players in your niche or industry are using. You don’t have to use the same hashtags, but you can create hashtags that will make sense for your brand.
Find out what hashtags your audience is using.
Your followers will have followers of their own who may be using the same hashtags that you can use to expand your reach.
Use Instagram Insights
In your Instagram business profile, you have access to Instagram Insights. You’ll find stats on which hashtags are doing well.
2. Create a branded hashtag.
This is beneficial if you want to promote your brand and use it in all your marketing campaigns and promotions. You can use it on your bio, Instagram Stories, captions, and comments.
3. Use the optimal number of hashtags in your posts.
There’s no cut and dried rule on how many hashtags to use, so you need to test, test, and test some more. It’s suggested to use 1-3 hashtags in the caption and up to 30 hashtags in the comments section. Just make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant and on-brand.
With analytics from Flick, you’ll see data on hashtag per feed post on Instagram. This will give you an idea of how many hashtags are used, so you don’t stray too far from the norm.
Combining SEO and social media marketing strategies can increase your brand’s online presence, improve searchability and ranking in search engines, boost site traffic, increase customer engagement, and expand your reach.
If your current strategies are not giving you the desired results, Embarque can design and implement an SEO strategy that will work for your business.